My New Year’s resolution for 2020 is bound to be a great relief to my family, friends, casual acquaintances and various innocent bystanders. It is the same one I made in 2011and 2014 but I have relapsed.
I resolve to stop whining about having too much to do. Not that anyone ever listens.
One day a friend asked routinely, “How ya’ doin’?” and I was about two minutes into a monolog of how many things I had to do and how I never get caught up and how frustrating it all was when I noticed her eyes wandering around the room and then she checked her watch.
I stopped. “Do you have to be somewhere?”
“Not really,” she said with a big yawn. And I could hear her thinking as plain as if it were written on her forehead: “But I wish I did.”
I decided to do a little experiment. A couple of days later, another friend and I were driving along and I was reciting my usual litany of all the things I didn’t have time to do: “defrost the deep freeze, organize book shelves, take the car in and...” I glanced at her... “and there are those two boa constrictors in the back yard I need to get rid of...and I’ve got to deposit my winning lottery check...and there are only a couple of weeks left before I move to Cambodia.”
I paused. “What are you reading now?” she asked.
So, I asked myself, “Whom am I complaining to? Obviously myself because – and this came as somewhat of a shock – probably no one has listened to my whining for years.
Well, OK, if I’m complaining to myself, why don’t I do something about it? Some of the people who irritate me the most are those who, when they tell me a problem and I suggest a solution, immediately tell me why it won’t work. I conclude they don’t want a solution. They prefer the problem.
Is that what I’m doing? Do I want to be too busy? Because nobody is making me plant tulips, clean under the guest room bed, organize my hanging files or put away my summer hats. What will happen if I don’t do those tasks? What will happen if I miss a concert, a play, a meeting?
I continued “what iffing.” What will happen if I never again tell someone how busy I am, how I can never get caught up, how I yearn to get organized?
I haven’t tried it yet –but here’s what I suspect will happen. My family will be soooo relieved. My oldest son, especially, who, every time I tell him I have too much to do, predictably responds: “Yeah, it must be tough to be retired.”
“Do you think mom’s a little less dull lately?” they’ll ask each other.
My friends won’t notice specifically that I’ve stopped whining but they will yawn less and have more time to talk about their own lists. One or two might even comment, a little puzzled, “You seem a little different, somehow. Have you cut your hair?”
At the stroke of midnight, New Year’s Eve, that’s it for whining. You won’t hear another word about needing to put my photos in albums ... organize the four shelves on the top right in my office ... cut down the dead cannas in the back yard ... clean out the shed ... back up my computer files .... or ...
Mary McClure lives in Lawton.